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Dangers of Mushrooms
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This page is dedicated to my little Risi who passed way on September 30, 2007 from mushroom poisoning. Unfortunately she didn't show any symptoms until after it was too late to help her. Hopefully this page helps save another tiny life from this fate.
 
This information is comprised from various internet resources and my own experience.
 
 

 
Mushroom poisoning is becoming more frequent in dogs, especially with the wet/cool weather we have been experiencing. Our lawns and gardens are erupting with clusters of LBMs (little brown mushrooms) and white mushrooms as well. Most of these are highly toxic to dogs, especially smaller breeds. The mushroom toxin attacks and destroys the dog's liver, and if not treated immediately will be fatal. Some are very deadly.  ******The deadliest ones don't do their damage immediately, but will completely destroy either the liver or the kidneys over a period of days!!!******
Mycologists have found that some LBM's (literally - little brown mushrooms - so numerous in variety they are not classified beyond that) contain even more muscarine than Amanita Muscaria ( a known poisonous mushroom). Muscarine slows the breathing and the heart, etc.

"ALSO, if you think you don't have these mushrooms around, think again, they are extremely common and are everywhere". 
 
 
 
 
Wild World of Mushrooms:
 
 
Wild mushrooms are common in the just about everywhere. The word mushroom is used to describe the fruiting body of various types of fungi. They cannot synthesis their own energy like plants but depend on decaying organic matter for their energy. That's why they're commonly found around decaying vegetable matter, such as manure or rotting roots and stumps. The growth of mushrooms is favored by cool, moist weather. Thus, they are most abundant in spring and fall. Some mushrooms appear in yards after rainfalls.

A major problem is the difficulty in identifying mushroom species. In addition, very few individuals (mycologists) who are properly trained to identify wild mushrooms exist. Unfortunately, this requires that any child who eats a wild mushroom Photo of mushroom (amanita virosa)be treated. In addition to children, dogs often eat wild mushrooms, leading to serious poisoning.

 In Members of the Gyromitra family, such as the false morel, contain a substance, which may cause vomiting, abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. More serious signs may include seizures, coma and death. Other mushrooms, such as Psilocybe species, contain a hallucinogen. People who have accidentally eaten these mushrooms had suffered vivid hallucinations that may be pleasant or terrifying. The most poisonous mushrooms are members of the Amanita, which are responsible for most of the mushroom-related deaths that occur each year. These mushrooms contain a substance that causes liver damage. They are so poisonous that it is estimated that one mushroom cap from an Amanita can kill a man. Tragically, these mushrooms do not produce symptoms until many hours after they are eaten. By that time, treatment is usually of little value. In addition, mushrooms may also cause illness because they are spoiled. Eating spoiled mushrooms will cause illness similar to other types of food poisoning.

What to Watch For:

Vomiting

Diarrhea

Abdominal pain

Lethargy

Jaundice (yellow skin color)

Seizures

Coma

Excessive Salivation

 

Diagnosis:

When poisonous mushroom ingestion is suspected, initial blood tests are done to evaluate the overall health of the dog.

High liver and kidney enzymes may be seen 24 to 48 hours after ingestion of certain mushrooms, together with low blood sugar and blood potassium levels.

While these are not specific for mushroom poisoning, when coupled with known ingestion or at least suspicion of ingestion, they should alert you to the possibility.

*****Since there is no specific test for mushroom poisoning, identification of mushroom parts in the vomit or stomach contents is the only definitive means for making a diagnosis of mushroom poisoning.*****

Treatment

Treatment varies, and largely depends on the specific mushroom that has been ingested and potential clinical signs associated with the mushroom. One or more of the following may be recommended.

Induction of vomiting


Administration of activated charcoal (to absorb mushroom/toxin)


Fluid therapy to maintain hydration


Treatment for kidney or liver failure if it develops


Treatment for seizures when present

Home Care and Prevention:

There is no adequate home care for poisonous mushroom ingestion. If you suspect that your dog has eaten a dangerous mushroom, contact your veterinarian immediately.

The best way to prevent ingestion of poisonous mushrooms is to keep your dog away from mushrooms. Periodically check your yard and remove any mushrooms, and do not allow your dog to roam unattended through the neighborhood.